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What Are My Options for Establishing Paternity in Illinois?

 Posted on January 06,2021 in Paternity

St. Charles family law attorney paternity

Whether you are a child’s mother or father, establishing legal paternity provides important benefits for both you and your child, including court-ordered child support, other benefits for the child, such as health insurance and inheritance, and parental rights for the father. In Illinois, you have a few different options for establishing paternity, depending on the willingness of both parents to cooperate with the process.

It is important to note that if the parents are legally married at the time of a child’s birth, parentage is presumed without the necessity of any further legal action. The same can be true if the parents were previously married within 300 days of the child’s birth, or if they get married after the child’s birth. If none of these situations apply to you, you will need to take one of the following steps in order for a person to be legally recognized as the child’s father.

Complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity

If both parents are certain that the man is the biological father and are in agreement regarding the man’s role in the child’s life, the best and easiest option for establishing legal paternity is usually to fill out and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP), and file it with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). A VAP can be completed at any time after the child’s birth, including at the hospital where the child is born.

Apply for an Administrative Paternity Order

With this option, the HFS Child Support Services division assists with the establishment of legal paternity by attempting to reach an agreement between the mother and the alleged father. Often, this involves genetic testing to determine whether a man is a biological father. If the test indicates a clear biological link, or if the man does not respond to requests to undergo testing, he can be declared the legal father. An Administrative Paternity Order can be a good option for unmarried mothers who want to establish paternity in order to receive child support.

Petition for a Judicial Order of Paternity

Legal paternity can also be established through the Illinois court system if there is a dispute over parentage. Either the mother or alleged father can initiate the process, which also usually involves a genetic test to determine biological paternity. A judicial order can be a good option for a father who wants to secure his parental rights, and it may be the first step toward additional legal action to pursue parenting time and parental responsibilities.

Contact a Kane County Paternity Lawyer

At Weiler & Associates, Inc., we will advise you on the best option for establishing legal paternity, and we will represent your interests throughout any necessary legal proceedings. We strive to protect your rights and the best interests of your child. Contact a St. Charles family law attorney today at 630-331-9110 so we can get started with your case.


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